Toyota Motor Thailand introduced a new variant of the Corolla Altis at the 2010 Thai Motor Expo – an automatic transmission version of the 1.6 CNG model. The new model is priced at 834,000 Bt which is a premium of quite bait over the manual version which is priced well below 800,000 Bt.

The 1.6 litre 3ZZ-FE engine continues to put out 109 PS at 6,000rpm and 145Nm of torque at 4,400rpm acceding to Toyota spec sheets. The chassis has been revised to cope with the additional weight that the CNG system adds to the car – suspension, coil springs and EPS power steering variables have been changed here.

A selector switch shows which type of fuel is being used (petrol – E20 capable or CNG gas) as well as the amount of CNG left in the tank. The CNG refueling nozzle is located near the regular petrol inlet so you don’t have to open your engine bay to refuel like the way the taxis here in Malaysia do it.

The Toyota ECU calculates the right amount of gas to be fed to the engine via the electronic injectors. The gas is stored in a 75 litre CNG tank made from Chrome Molybdenum steel that is securely held in place and flows through a stainless steel high-pressure gas pipe. The tank is separated from the rest of the luggage compartment with a partition that prevents objects from slamming into the tank during braking.

There has not been much of a push for CNG here in Malaysia by the government. No concrete plan on alternative fuel or anything like that – they seem to be too concentrated on how to save money on petrol subsidies without offering or suggesting to us any viable alternatives other than what I’m interpreting as ‘ubah gaya hidup – drive less’. What about diesel or CNG?